Monday, June 30, 2008

Inbox Zero by Merlin Man

I watched the "Inbox Zero" Google Tech Talk from Merlin Mann. Yes, he's the guy from the famous 43folders blog, which also has its own Inbox Zero series. In order to watch the video off-line, you can use SafariStand (cmd-click on the video to save it locally) download the FLV video in Safari and WimpyPlayer to play it. These are the main things I got out of the video (besides refreshing the basic 5 steps for handling email: "Delete / Delegate / Respond/ Defer / Do"):
  • always carry a stack of index cards or a small notebook with me to catch tasks (e.g. buy toilet paper) whenever they come into your mind
  • whenever you start to fiddle with taxonomy go and do three tasks
  • use MailTemplate to improve answering similar emails
  • process things (Inbox, Email, etc.) by latest first
  • try to become a ninja at processing (learn to make quick decisions on what to do with stuff in your Inboxes)
  • only archive emails/things that you might need in the future, else delete/trash it
Of course there is much more mentioned in the video (watch it yourself, it's really worth the time), but these are just the few things that stuck in my head after having watched it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

GTD best practices

These are some of my GTD best practices I found important for myself so far:
  • Get priority thinking off your mind!
  • Get some Someday/Maybe projects (including dreams, goals) to give you a better feeling that your lists have it all
  • The calendar is only for rock solid tasks that will occur at that time (not plans / tasks that you would like to do = not prioritizing)
  • Make some / more checklists and mind maps when evaluating possible projects or tasks, these will then go into the Inbox and be processed accordingly (incubate, trash, new projects / tasks?)
  • Put a date on all notes, lists, checklists, mind maps, memos, etc.
  • Have projects that have really good and well defined next actions
  • Try not to have too many single actions on Miscellaneous lists but instead ask yourself: "are these really single and independent actions, or would they actually be better off in a small projects, even only having 2-3 actions overall?"
  • Put all manuals that are too big to fit into the filing system (e.g. software manuals) to one place in a bookshelf or drawer, order them also from A-Z
  • Put non-file-able stuff that lays around into boxes, label them and store them in your cellar or pavement
  • Always add phone number to "phone call" related tasks
  • Every email that is a delegation, request or where you wait for an answer should be CC'd to yourself and then processed accordingly (add to projects / lists) and then put in the @Waiting folder in your email
  • Read the GTD best practices as often as necessary, until they are incorporated into your daily GTD mindset

Statistics and new features

Blogger (where my blog is hosted) does not offer any statistic evaluation of page visits yet. They have a page where they tell about external tools you can use. After searching a bit in the net I found a howoto for tracking page visits with Google Analytics. I also stumbeld on an  entry at the GoodLe blog mentioning a private beta of Google Analytics for Blogger. So I setup the account and added the required code, now lets see what the analytics tool will tell me in the near future.

The same GoodLe blog entry also mentioned Blogger in Draft, which seems to offer additional and new features for blogs hoster at Blogger. I guess I need to have a closer look at that as well.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Folder Information Dialog" in TextMate projects

To exclude certain files in a referenced folder in a TextMate project open the "Folder Information" for that folder by pressing the "info" button in the lower right of the project drawer or by pressing ⌘i. Then you can exclude files or folders using regular expressions. You could e.g. exclude all .o files and .class files by adding the following to the "File Pattern" input field: !\.(o|class)

Caret movement in TextMate

One nice feature is the different behavior of ⌥→ and ⌃→:
  • To jump from word to word use ⌥→
  • To jump within CamelCase words use ⌃→
This works also in the opposite direction.

GTD workflow diagrams

I found some good GTD workflow diagrams for:
via zenhabits

Thursday, June 19, 2008

SnapNDrag for easy screenshots

Since I can't memorize the shortcuts for taking screen-shots on the Mac I tried SnapNDrag. The easy interface makes taking screen-shots painless and it even has some additional features to the default Mac OS X capabilities.

OmniFocus: completed projects and the weekly review

To hide the completed projects in OmniFocus' weekly review you can put manually the review date in the project's inspector to the far future (e.g. 01.01.2999):

I personally want to go through my completed projects from time to time in order to trigger ideas for new projects, so I put the review cycle for my completed projects to 1 year:

Quick access to "Restart, Sleep, Shutdown"

To quickly access the "Restart, Sleep, Shutdown" dialog (like hitting the Power button on old Mac keyboards) hit ⌃⏏ (Ctrl-Eject).


Trouble with Spaces on Mac OS X Leopard

If Spaces has strange behavior such as not changing to the right "Space" when switching applications, you can try to fix it by restarting the Dock:

Launch Terminal, in Applications » Utilities and type "killall Dock".


The TextMate "Go to File" dialog

When working with project, you can hit ⌘T to open the "Go to File" dialog. In this dialog, intelligent matching will be used. If you have a file called no_name.txt in your project, all the following letters put in the input field of the dialog box will match the file: "no", "na", "me" and even "nn" (which matches the beginning letters between separators).

Some useful TextMate shortcuts

⌘+make font bigger
⌘-make font smaller
⌥⌘Tinsert special characters
⌃⌘Topen "Select Bundle Item" dialog
⌃⇧Aopen subversion dialog
⌃⌘Rselect currently open file in project drawer

⌘Lgo to line number (opens dialog)
⌥→jump to next right word
⌘⇧Tgo to symbol (opens dialog)
⌘F2Add/remove bookmark
F2go to next bookmark
⇧F2go to previous bookmark
⌃Wselect current word
⌘⇧Lselect current line
⌘/comment / uncomment selection
⌃⌘↑move selection up (also works down/left/right)
⌥⇥indent selection (add ⇧ for opposite direction)
⌘⇧Vpaste previous entry from clipboard history
⌃⌥⌘Vpaste from history (opens dialog)
⌃⌥⇧Vpaste selection online (opens dialog)
⌘↩add empty line below current (and go to it)
⌘⇧↩add empty line below current (with line terminator)
⌘⇧&open HTML entity and escape tool dialog
⌃⇧Lwrap selection as link (URL from clipboard)
⌃⇧Nshow count (lines,words,bytes) of selection
lorem⇥add some (lorem ipsum) text

⌃⌘Nnew project
⌃⌘Ssave project
⌃⌥⌘Dshow / hide project drawer
⌃⇥toggle focus (drawer, buttons, editing)
⌘Topen "Go to File" dialog
⌘1-⌘9open tab number 1-9
⌥⌘→go to next tab on the right
⌥⌘←go to next tab on the left
⌥⌘↑switch between same name files (x.c & x.h)

Project Drawer:
open selected file
SPACErename selected file
expand selected folder
collapse selected folder

TextMate and the "mate" command in the shell

"mate ." opens current directory as new project
"mate x.c x.h" opens both files as new project
"mate *.c" opens all *.c files as new project

Make TextMate the default editor for the shell

Edit ~.profile with e.g. "mate ~.profile" and add the following lines:

export EDITOR="mate -w"
export VISUAL="mate -w"
export SVN_EDITOR="mate -w"

Now your shell will always invoke TextMate whenever a file needs to be edited (e.g. Subversion commit text).

TextMate input manager

Don't forget to install the "Edit in TextMate" input manager. It allows you to hit ⌃⌘E in many applications (e.g. Mail or Safari) to edit the text in TextMate. Save (⌘S) and close (⌘W) the TextMate document to give the contents back to the application.